Published: 11:26, 16 October 2019
| Updated: 13:13, 16 October 2019
Ebbsfleet Garden City has announced a brand new development which will "be at the heart" of the multi-billion pound project.
The acquisition of the 125-hectare site, which will be called Ebbsfleet Central, will contribute to delivering the promised 15,000 homes at the development, and has been backed by Housing Minister Esther McVey.
An aerial view of the development
The new addition will create a new commercial and residential centre and help provide jobs, homes and community and cultural facilities.
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation's £34 million purchase of the land from Landsec and Ebbsfleet Property LLP (EIGP) will "help it deliver it's full potential" of the garden city and they hope it will become "a magnet for new businesses, education, research and development, as well as leisure and recreation".
Chairman of the development corporation, Michael Cassidy CBE, said: “This is the most exciting project to happen in Ebbsfleet Garden City to date and we aim to create a centre that is vibrant and creates economic opportunities that will be enjoyed by people for years to come.
“We will now be talking to developers and investors to maximise the enormous potential Ebbsfleet Central will bring for all.”
Housing Minister, Esther McVey, said: “Projects such as Ebbsfleet Central have a key role in making sure we deliver the homes this country needs while protecting the countryside. The development will make the most of brownfield land and make a big contribution to delivering 15,000 quality new homes for families within the garden city, at least 30% of which will be affordable.
"However, it is not enough just to build new houses, we need to ensure we build proud communities with a sense of place. That’s why developments such as this are so important, providing facilities and homes for families in a thriving new urban centre at the heart of the community.”
There are currently 1,700 homes in Ebbsfleet Garden City with around 4,000 residents and plans for 15,000 homes to be created.
It already has one primary school, Castle Hill, with another under construction and one more in the pipeline.
The developers said the number of buildings would not be an indicator of the project's success and they would be driven by the 'quality of life' they could create.
A key part of the masterplan for the central plot will consist of leisure facilities, parks and green spaces.
Chief executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation Ian Piper said: “Investors will see enormous potential in what Ebbsfleet Central will bring for the local and North Kent economy."
He envisaged the business hub could rival that of Stratford and Canary Wharf and had "the potential to create up 15000 new jobs".
It will take the form of a "campus type" commercial space with the majority of residential plots consisting of apartments.
“Although it has taken years to reach this point with the land untouched by development, Ebbsfleet Central will be the beating heart of Ebbsfleet Garden City and is an exciting opportunity for the new communities already formed here as well as the new ones that will be created," he said.
Location was also critical, he added, "Connectivity is about more than just time".
He said the project would look to exploit the garden city's excellent transport links.
The final beam was put in place earlier this month for a new bridge which will link residents to Ebbsfleet International station when it opens in Spring next year.
One potential challenge for the project's future was the issue of ample parking.
The garden city boss said "Car parking is a major factor" as we will need to be able to consolidate spaces into multi-storey facilities in the future.
An exact delivery date was not given for the central development but project leaders envisage it will be atleast 2035.